Shale water tech firm set to test new method in Permian

By RWI Enhanced Evaporation | September 30, 2019

As the oil patch seeks to cut costs, a radically efficient method of evaporating produced water—Evaporation 2.0—is now available from industrial wastewater firm RWI Enhanced Evaporation.

Traditional methods have been inefficient, costing 20 cents per barrel, and have often scattered dry aerosol pollutants for miles.

RWI Enhanced Evaporation’s newly engineered and proven design cuts costs to .006 cents per barrel. At the same time, it emits water droplets of 75 microns or larger, which sedimentate out into the evaporation pond. Thus, pollutants like sodium chloride, sodium sulfate, calcium chloride and other contaminants can be concentrated in the impoundment without polluting nearby land and air.

In light of this system’s benefits, a significant Permian Basin E&P company has invited RWI to demonstrate it in Midland.

Robert Ballantyne, RWI’s Director of Research and Development explained, “Most previous evaporation systems were based on snow makers, requiring 40 horsepower or more to operate. They created droplets as small as five microns, which create dry aerosol drift due to daughter particles that can contaminate air for miles around. This violates EPA Rule 40 CFR 51.300 regulating causes of visible haze.

“Our units were designed from scratch and rigorously tested for two-and-a-half years at our 5-acre test site,” Ballantyne continued. “Floating on the evaporation pond and blowing downward, they increase evaporation rates by 116 percent while maintaining existing lake evaporation rates, which older systems interfered with.” The 2.0 systems can be adjusted for low or high wind situations.

Combined with the higher evaporation rate is the greatly reduced power cost, making the system up to 90 percent more efficient than previous methods. There are also mounting concerns about the effects of saltwater disposals. For RWI, 2.0 is a commitment to fulfilling concerns over economy and environmental stewardship. Said Ballantyne, “The Midland demonstration shows that larger producers are getting on board with improving their balance sheet while being responsible citizens and neighbors. We’re excited to show what Series 2.0 evaporators can do for the industry.”